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Illustrated By 


New York 




The Death of Rodriguez 

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Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society ; 
Author of " Three Gringos in Venezuela 
and Central America, " "The Princess 
Aline," " Gallegher," "Van Bibber, and 
Others," "Dr. Jameson's Raiders," etc., etc. 






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List of Illustrations - 7 

Author's Note - - 9 

Cuba in War Time - - 1 1 

The Fate of the Pacificos - 41 

The Death of Rodriguez - 59 

Along the Trocha - - 77 

The Question of Atrocities - 103 

The Right of Search of American 

Vessels - - -121 


The Death of Rodriguez . Frontispiece 
A Spanish Soldier . . . . 15 
Guerrillas with Captured Pacificos . 21 
A Spanish Officer .... 27 
Insurgents Firing on Spanish Fort . 33 
Fire and Sword in Cuba . . 40 
A Spanish Guerrilla .... 45 
Murdering the Cuban Wounded . 51 
Bringing in the Wounded . . -58 
Young Spanish Officer . . . 63 
The Cuban Martyrdom ... 69 
Regular Cavalryman Spanish . 76 
One of the Block Houses . . .81 
Spanish Cavalry 85 

One of the Forts Along the Trocha 89 

The Trocha 95 

Spanish Troops in^Action . .102 

Amateur Surgery in Cuba . , 107 
Scouting Party of Spanish Cavalry 113 

An Officer of Spanish Guerrillas . 1 20 

A Spanish Picket Post . . . 125 

General Weyler in the Field . . i 3 1 

Spanish Cavalryman on a Texas 

Broncho 137 

For Cuba Libre . . . 141 


These illustrations were made by Mr. Frederic 
Remington, from personal observation while in 
Cuba, and from photographs, and descriptions 
furnished by eye-witnesses, and are here repro- 
duced through the courtesy of Mr. W. R. Hearst. 

Author's Note 

A FTER my return from Cuba many people 
* asked me questions concerning the situation 
there, and I noticed that they generally asked the 
same questions. This book has been published 
with the idea of answering those questions as fully 
as is possible for me to do after a journey 
through the island, during which I traveled in four 
of the six provinces, visiting towns, seaports, plan- 
tations and military camps, and stopping for several 
days in all of the chief cities of Cuba, with the ex- 
ception of Santiago and Pinar del Rio. 

Part of this book was published originally in the 
form of letters from Cuba to the New York Journal 
and in the newspapers of a syndicate arranged by 
the Journal', the remainder, which was suggested by 
the questions asked on my return, was written in 
this country, and appears here for the first time. 


Cuba in War Time 

WHEN the revolution broke out in Cuba 
two years ago, the Spaniards at once 
began to build tiny forts, and con- 
tinued to add to these and improve those already 
built, until now the whole island, which is eight 
hundred miles long and averages eighty miles in 
width, is studded as thickly with these little forts 
as is the sole of a brogan with iron nails. It is 
necessary to keep the fact of the existence of these 
forts in mind in order to understand the situation 
in Cuba at the present time, as they illustrate the 
Spanish plan of campaign, and explain why the war 
has dragged on for so long, and why it may con- 
tinue indefinitely. 

The last revolution was organized by the aristo- 
crats ; the present one is a revolution of the puebleo, 
and, while the principal Cuban families are again 
among the leaders, with them now are the repre- 
sentatives of the "plain people," and the cause is 
now a common cause in working for the success 
of which all classes of Cubans are desperately in 

12 Cuba in War Time 

The outbreak of this revolution was hastened by 
an offer from Spain to make certain reforms in the 
internal government of the island. The old revo- 
lutionary leaders, fearing that the promise of these 
reforms might satisfy the Cubans, and that they 
would cease to hope for complete independence, 
started the revolt, and asked all loyal Cubans not to 
accept the so-called reforms when, by fighting, they 
might obtain their freedom. Another cause which 
precipitated the revolution was the financial depres- 
sion which existed all over the island in 1894, and 
the closing of the sugar mills in consequence. Owing 
to the lack of money with which to pay the labor- 
ers, the grinding of the sugar cane ceased, and the 
men were turned off by the hundreds, and, for want 
of something better to do, joined the insurgents. 
Some planters believe that had Spain loaned 
them sufficient money with which to continue 
grinding, the men would have remained on the 
centrals, as the machine shops and residence of a 
sugar plantation are called, and that so few would 
have gone into the field against Spain that the in- 
surrection could have been put down before it had 
gained headway. An advance to the sugar plan- 
ters of five millions of dollars then, so they say, 
would have saved Spain the outlay of many hun- 
dreds of millions spent later in supporting an army 

Cuba in War Time 13 

in the field. That may or may not be true, and it 
is not important now, for Spain did not attack the 
insurgents in that way, but began hastily to build 
forts. These forts now stretch all over the island, 
some in straight lines, some in circles, and some 
zig-zagging from hill-top to hill-top, some within 
a quarter of a mile of the next, and others so near 
that the sentries can toss a cartridge from one to 
the other. 

The island is divided into two great military 
camps, one situated within the forts, and the other 
scattered over the fields and mountains outside 
of them. The Spaniards have absolute control 
over everything within the fortified places; that is, 
in all cities, towns, seaports^ and along the lines of 
the railroad; the insurgents are in possession of all 
the rest. They are not in fixed possession, but they 
have control much as a mad bull may be said to 
have control of a ten-acre lot when he goes on the 
rampage. Some farmer may hold a legal right to 
the ten-acre lot, through title deeds or in the shape 
of a mortgage, and the bull may occupy but one 
part of it at a time, but he has possession, which is 
better than the law. 

It is difficult to imagine a line drawn so closely, 
not about one city or town, but around every city 
and town in Cuba, that no one can pass the line 

14 Cuba in War Time 

from either the outside or the inside. The Span- 
iards, however, have succeeded in effecting and 
maintaining a blockade of that kind. They have 
placed forts next to the rows of houses or huts on 
the outskirts of each town, within a hundred yards 
of one another, and outside of this circle is another 
circle, and beyond that, on every high piece of 
ground, are still more of these little square forts, 
which are not much larger than the signal stations 
along the lines of our railroads and not unlike them 
in appearance. No one can cross the line of the 
forts without a pass, nor enter from the coun- 
try beyond them without an order showing from 
what place he comes, at what time he left that place, 
and that he had permission from the commandante 
to leave it. A stranger in any city in Cuba to-day is 
virtually in a prison, and is as isolated from the rest 
of the world as though he were on a desert island or 
a floating ship of war. When he wishes to depart he 
is free to do so, but he cannot leave on foot nor on 
horseback. He must make his departure on a 
railroad train, of which seldom more than two 
leave any town in twenty-four hours, one going 
east and the other west. From Havana a number 
of trains depart daily in different directions, but 
once outside of Havana, there is only one train 
back to it again. When on the cars you are still in 

A Spanish Soldier 

Cuba in War Time 17 

the presence and under the care of Spanish sol- 
diers, and the progress of the train is closely 
guarded. A pilot engine precedes it at a distance 
of one hundred yards to test the rails and pick up 
dynamite bombs, and in front of it is a car covered 
with armor plate, with slits in the sides like those 
in a letter box, through which the soldiers may fire. 
There are generally from twenty to fifty soldiers in 
each armored car. Back of the armored car is a flat 
car loaded with ties, girders and rails, which are 
used to repair bridges or those portions of the track 
that may have been blown up by the insurgents. 
Wherever a track crosses a bridge there are two 
forts, one at each end of the bridge, and also at al- 
most every cross-road. When the train passes one 
of these forts, two soldiers appear in the door and 
stand at salute to show, probably, that they are 
awake, and at every station there are two or 
more forts, while the stations themselves are usually 
protected by ramparts of ties and steel rails. There 
is no situation where it is so distinctly evident that 
those who are not with you are against you, for you 
are either inside of one circle of forts or passing 
under guard by rail to another circle, or you are with 
the insurgents. There is no alternative. If you walk 
fifty yards away from the circle you are, in the eyes 
of the Spaniards, as much in "the field" as though 

1 8 Cuba in War Time 

you were two hundred miles away on the moun- 

The lines are so closely drawn that when you 
consider the tremendous amount of time and labor 
expended in keeping up this blockade, you must 
admire the Spaniards for doing it so well, but you 
would admire them more, if, instead of stopping 
content with that they went further and invaded the 
field. The forts are an excellent precaution; they 
prevent sympathizers from joining the insurgents 
and from sending them food, arms, medicine or 
messages. But the next step, after blockading the 
cities, would appear to be to follow the insurgents 
into the field and give them battle. This the 
Spaniards do not seem to consider important, nor 
wish to do. Flying columns of regular troops and 
guerrillas are sent out daily, but they always return 
each evening within the circle of forts. If they 
meet a band of insurgents they give battle readily 
enough, but they never pursue the enemy, and, in- 
stead of camping on the ground and following him 
up the next morning, they retreat as soon as the 
battle is over, to the town where they are stationed. 
When occasionally objection is made to this by a 
superior officer, they give as an explanation that 
they were afraid of being led into an ambush, and 
that as an officer's first consideration must be for his 

Cuba in War Time 19 

men, they decided that it was wiser not to follow 
the enemy into what might prove a death-trap; or 
the officers say they could not abandon their 
wounded while they pursued the rebels. Some- 
times a force of one thousand men will return with 
three men wounded, and will offer their condition 
as an excuse for having failed to follow the enemy. 
About five years ago troops of United States 
cavalry were sent into the chapparal on the border 
of Mexico and Texas to drive the Garcia revolution- 
ists back into their own country. One troop, G, 
Third Cavalry, was ordered out for seven days' ser- 
vice, but when I joined the troop later as a corre- 
spondent, it had been in the field for three months, 
sleeping the entire time under canvas, and carry- 
ing all its impedimenta with it on pack mules. It had 
seldom, if ever, been near a town, and the men wore 
the same clothes, or what was left of them, with 
which they had started for a week's campaign. Had 
the Spaniards followed such a plan of attack as that / 
when the revolution began, instead of building 
mud forts and devastating the country, they might 
not only have suppressed the revolution, but the 
country would have been of some value when the 
war ended. As it is to-day, it will take ten years 
or more to bring it back to a condition of produc- 

2O Cuba in War Time 

The wholesale devastation of the island was 
an idea of General Weyler's. If the captain of 
a vessel, in order to put down a mutiny on board, 
scuttled the ship and sent everybody to the bot- 
tom, his plan of action would be as successful as 
General Weyler's has proved to be. After he had 
obtained complete control of the cities he decided to 
lay waste the country and starve the revolutionists 
into submission. So he ordered all pacificos, as the 
non-belligerents are called, into the towns and 
burned their houses, and issued orders to have all 
fields where potatoes or corn were planted dug up 
and these food products destroyed. 

These pacificos are now gathered inside of a dead 
line, drawn one hundred and fifty yards around the 
towns, or wherever there is a fort. Some of them 
have settled around the forts that guard a bridge, 
others around the forts that guard a sugar planta- 
tion; wherever there are forts there are pacificos. 

In a word, the situation in Cuba is something like 
this: The Spaniards hold the towns, from which 
their troops daily make predatory raids, invariably 
returning in time for dinner at night. Around each 
town is a circle of pacificos doing no work, and for 
the most part starving and diseased, and outside, 
in the plains and mountains, are the insurgents. No 
one knows just where any one band of them is to- 










Cuba in War Time 23 

day, or where it may be to-morrow. Sometimes 
they come up to the very walls of the fort, lasso a 
bunch of cattle and ride off again, and the next 
morning their presence may be detected ten miles 
away, where they are setting fire to a cane field or a 
sugar plantation. 

This is the situation, so far as the inhabi- 
tants are concerned. The physical appearance of 
the country since the war began has changed 
greatly. In the days of peace Cuba was one of the 
most beautiful islands in the tropics, perhaps in the 
world. Its skies hang low and are brilliantly beau- 
tiful, with great expanses of blue, and in the early 
morning and before sunset, they are lighted with 
wonderful clouds of pink and saffron, as brilliant and 
as unreal as the fairy's grotto in a pantomime. 
There are great wind-swept prairies of high grass 
or tall sugar cane, and on the sea coast mountains 
of a light green, like the green of corroded copper, 
changing to a darker shade near the base, where 
they are covered with forests of palms. 

Throughout the extent of the island run many 
little streams, sometimes between high banks of 
rock, covered with moss and magnificent fern, with 
great pools of clear, deep water at the base of high 
waterfalls, and in those places where the stream 
cuts its way through the level plains double rows 

24 Cuba in War Time 

of the royal palm mark its course. The royal palm 
is the characteristic feature of the landscape in 
Cuba. It is the most beautiful of all palms, and 
possibly the most beautiful of all trees. The cocoa- 
nut palm, as one sees it in Egypt, picturesque as it 
is, has a pathetic resemblance to a shabby feather 
duster, and its trunk bends and twists as though it 
had not the strength to push its way through the 
air, and to hold itself erect. But the royal palm 
shoots up boldly from the earth with the grace and 
symmetry of a marble pillar or the white mast of a 
great ship. Its trunk swells in the centre and 
grows smaller again at the top, where it is hidden 
by great bunches of green plumes, like monstrous 
ostrich feathers that wave and bow and bend in the 
breeze as do the plumes on the head of a beautiful 
woman. Standing isolated in an open plain or in 
ranks in a forest of palms, this tree is always 
beautiful, noble and full of meaning. It makes 
you forget the ugly iron chimneys of the centrals, 
and it is the first and the last feature that appeals to 
the visitor in Cuba. 

But since the revolution came to Cuba the beauty 
of the landscape is blotted with the grim and pitia- 
ble signs of war. The sugar cane has turned to a 
dirty brown where the fire has passed through it, 
the centrals are black ruins, and the adobe houses 

Cuba in War Time 25 

and the railroad stations are roofless, and their 
broken windows stare pathetically at you like blind 
eyes. War cannot alter the sunshine, but the 
smoke from the burning huts and the blazing corn 
fields seems all the more sad and terrible when it 
rises into such an atmosphere, and against so soft 
and beautiful a sky. 

People frequently ask how far the destruction of 
property in Cuba is apparent. It is so far apparent 
that the smoke of burning buildings is seldom ab- 
sent from the landscape. If you stand on an elevation 
it is possible to see from ten to twenty blazing 
houses, and the smoke from the cane fields creeping 
across the plain or rising slowly to meet the sky. 
Sometimes the train passes for hours through burn- 
ing districts, and the heat from the fields along the 
track is so intense that it is impossible to keep 
the windows up, and whenever the door is opened 
sparks and cinders sweep into the car. One morn- 
ing, just this side of Jovellanos, all the sugar cane 
on the right side of the track was wrapped in white 
smoke for miles so that nothing could be distin- 
guished from that side of the car, and we seemed 
to be moving through the white steam of a Russian 

The Spaniards are no more to blame for this 
than are the insurgents; each destroy property and 

26 Cuba in War Time 

burn the cane. When an insurgent column finds 
a field planted with potatoes, it takes as much of 
the crop as it can carry away and chops up the re- 
mainder with machetes, to prevent it from falling 
into the hands of the Spaniards. If the Spaniards 
pass first, they act in exactly the same way. 

Cane is not completely destroyed if it is burned, 
for if it is at once cut down just above the roots, it 
will grow again. When peace is declared it will 
not be the soil that will be found wanting, nor the 
sun. It will be the lack of money and the loss of 
credit that will keep the sugar planters from sowing 
and grinding. And the loss of machinery in the 
centrals, which is worth in single instances hun- 
dreds of thousands of dollars, and in the aggre- 
gate many millions, cannot be replaced by men, 
who, even when their machinery was intact, were 
on the brink of ruin. 

Unless the United States government interferes 
on account of some one of its citizens in Cuba, and 
war is declared with Spain, there is no saying how 
long the present revolution may continue. For the 
Spaniards themselves are acting in a way which 
makes many people suspect that they are not mak- 
ing an effort to bring it to an end. The sincerity of 
the Spaniards in Spain is beyond question ; the per- 
sonal sacrifices they made in taking up the loans 

A Spanish Officer 


Cuba in War Time 29 

issued by the government are proof of their loyalty. 
But the Spaniards in Cuba are acting for their own 
interests. Many of the planters in order to save 
their fields and centrals from destruction, are un- 
questionably aiding the insurgents in secret, and 
though they shout "Viva Espafia" in the cities, they 
pay out cartridges and money at the back door of 
their plantations. 

It was because Weyler suspected that they 
were playing this double game that he issued 
secret orders that there should be no more grind- 
ing. For he knew that the same men who bribed 
him to allow them to grind would also pay black- 
mail to the insurgents for a like permission. He did 
not dare openly to forbid the grinding, but he in- 
structed his officers in the field to visit those places 
where grinding was in progress and to stop it by 
some indirect means, such as by declaring that the 
laborers employed were suspects, or by seizing all 
the draught oxen ostensibly for the use of his army, 
or by insisting that the men employed must show 
a fresh permit to work every day, which could only 
be issued to them by some commandante stationed 
not less than ten miles distant from the plantation 
on which they were employed. 

And the Spanish officers, as well as the planters 
the very men to whom Spain looks to end the rebel- 

30 Cuba in War Time 

lion are chief among those who are keeping it 
alive. The reasons for their doing so are obvious; 
they receive double pay while they are on foreign 
service, whether they are fighting or not, promo- 
tion comes twice as quickly as in time of peace, and 
orders and crosses are distributed by the gross. 
They are also able to make small fortunes out of 
forced loans from planters and suspects, and they 
undoubtedly hold back for themselves a great part 
of the pay of the men. A certain class of Spanish 
officer has a strange sense of honor. He does 
not consider that robbing his government by falsi- 
fying his accounts, or by making incorrect returns 
of his expenses, is disloyal or unpatriotic. He holds 
such an act as lightly as many people do smuggling 
cigars through their own custom house, or robbing a 
corporation of a railroad fare. He might be per- 
fectly willing to die for his country, but should he 
be permitted to live he will not hesitate to rob her. 
A lieutenant, for instance, will take twenty men 
out for their daily walk through the surrounding 
country and after burning a few huts and butcher- 
ing a pacifico or two, will come back in time for 
dinner and charge his captain for rations for fifty 
men and for three thousand cartridges "expended 
in service." The captain vises his report, and the 
two share the profits. Or they turn the money 

Cuba in War Time 31 

over to the colonel, who recommends them for red 
enamelled crosses for "bravery on the field." The 
only store in Matanzas that was doing a brisk trade 
when I was there was a jewelry shop, where they 
had sold more diamonds and watches to the Span- 
ish officers since the revolution broke out than they 
had ever been able to dispose of before to all the 
rich men in the city. The legitimate pay of the 
highest ranking officer is barely enough to buy red 
wine for his dinner, certainly not enough to pay for 
champagne and diamonds ; so it is not unfair to sup- 
pose that the rebellion is a profitable experience for 
the officers, and they have no intention of losing 
the golden eggs. 

And the insurgents on the other side are equally 
determined to continue the conflict. From every 
point of view this is all that is left for them to do. 
They know by terrible experience how little of 
mercy or even of justice they may expect from 
the enemy, and, patriotism or the love of indepen- 
dence aside, it is better for them to die in the 
field than to risk the other alternative; a lin- 
gering life in an African penal settlement or the 
fusillade against the east wall of Cabanas prison. In 
an island with a soil so rich and productive as is 
that of Cuba there will always be roots and fruits 
for the insurgents to live upon, and with the cattle 

3 2 

Cuba in War Time 

that they have hidden away in the laurel or on the 
mountains they can keep their troops in rations for 
an indefinite period. What they most need now 
are cartridges and rifles. Of men they have al- 
ready more than they can arm. 

People in the United States frequently ex- 
press impatience at the small amount of fighting 
which takes place in this struggle for liberty, and it 
is true that the lists of killed show that the death 
rate in battle is inconsiderable. Indeed, when 
compared with the number of men and women who 
die daily of small-pox and fever and those who are 
butchered on the plantations, the proportion of 
killed in battle is probably about one to fifteen. 

I have no statistics to prove these figures, but, 
judging from the hospital reports and from what the 
consuls tell of the many murders of pacificos, I 
judge that that proportion would be rather under 
than above the truth. George Bronson Rae, the 
Herald correspondent, who was for nine months 
with Maceo and Gomez, and who saw eighty fights 
and was twice wounded, told me that the largest 
number of insurgents he had seen killed in one bat- 
tle was thirteen. 

Another correspondent said that a Spanish officer 
had told him that he had killed forty insurgents out 
of four hundred who had attacked his column. 

Insurgents Firing on a Spanish Fort 
" One Shot for a Hundred" 


Cuba in War Time 35 

"But how do you know you killed that many?" 
the correspondent asked. 'You say you were 
.., , _,__ 

fell back into the town as soon as they ceased 

"Ah, but I counted the cartridges my men had 
used," the officer replied. "I found they had ex- 
pended four hundred. By allowing ten bullets to 
each man killed, I was able to learn that we had 
killed forty men." 

These stories show how little reason there is to 
speak of these skirmishes as battles, and it also 
throws some light on the Spaniard's idea of his 
own marksmanship. As a plain statement of fact, 
and without any exaggeration, one of the chief rea- 
sons why half the insurgents in Cuba are not dead 
to-day is because the Spanish soldiers cannot shoot 
well enough to hit them. The Mauser rifle, which 
is used by all the Spanish soldiers, with the excep- 
tion of the Guardia Civile, is a most excellent 
weapon for those who like clean, gentlemanly war- 
fare, in which the object is to wound or to kill out- 
right, and not to "shock" the enemy nor to tear his 
flesh in pieces. The weapon has hardly any tra- 
jectory up to one thousand yards, but, in spite of 
its precision, it is as useless in the hands of a guer- 
rilla or the average Spanish soldier as a bow and 

36 Cuba in War Time 

arrow would be. The fact that when the Spaniards 
say "within gun fire of the forts" they mean within 
one hundred and fifty yards of them shows how 
they estimate their own skill. Major Grover Flint, 
the Journal correspondent, told me of a fight that he 
witnessed in which the Spaniards fired two thou- 
sand rounds at forty insurgents only two hundred 
yards away, and only succeeded in wounding three 
of them. Sylvester Scovel once explained this bad 
marksmanship to me by pointing out that to shift 
the cartridge in a Mauser, it is necessary to hold 
the rifle at an almost perpendicular angle, and close 
up under the shoulder. After the fresh cartridge 
has gone home the temptation to bring the butt to 
the shoulder before the barrel is level is too great 
for the Spanish Tommy, and, in his excitement, he 
fires most of his ammunition in the air over the 
heads of the enemy. He also fires so recklessly 
and rapidly that his gun often becomes too hot for 
him to handle it properly, and it is not an unusual 
sight to see him rest the butt on the ground and 
pull the trigger while the gun is in that position. 

On the whole, the Spanish soldiers during this 
war in Cuba have contributed little to the informa- 
tion of those who are interested in military science. 
The tactics which the officers follow are those 
which were found effective at the battle of Water- 

Cuba in War Time 37 

loo, and in the Peninsular campaign. When at- 
tacked from an ambush a Spanish column forms at 
once into a hollow square, with the cavalry in the 
centre, and the firing is done in platoons. They 
know nothing of "open order," or of firing in skir- 
mish line. If the Cubans were only a little better 
marksmen than their enemies they should, with 
such a target as a square furnishes them, kill about 
ten men where they now wound one. 

With the war conducted under the conditions 
described here, there does not seem to be much 
promise of its coming to any immediate end unless 
some power will interfere. The Spaniards will 
probably continue to remain inside their forts, and 
the officers will continue to pay themselves well out 
of the rebellion. 

And, on the other hand, the insurgents who 
call themselves rich when they have three cart- 
ridges, as opposed to the one hundred and fifty cart- 
ridges that every Spanish soldier carries, will prob- 
ably very wisely continue to refuse to force the 
issue in any one battle. 

The Fate of the Pacificos 

The Fate of the 

As is already well known in the United States, 
General Weyler issued an order some months ago 
commanding the country people living in the prov- 
inces of Pinar del Rio, Havana and Matanzas to 
betake themselves with their belongings to the for- 
tified towns. His object in doing this was to pre- 
vent the pacificos from giving help to the insur- 
gents, and from sheltering them and the wounded 
in their huts. So flying columns of guerrillas and 
Spanish soldiers were sent to burn these huts, and 
to drive the inhabitants into the suburbs of the cit- 
ies. When I arrived in Cuba sufficient time had 
passed for me to note the effects of this order, and 
to study the results as they are to be found in the 
provinces of Havana, Matanzas and Santa Clara, 
the order having been extended to embrace the lat- 
ter province. 

It looked then as though General Weyler was 
reaping what he had sown, and was face to face 

42 Cuba in War Time 

with a problem of his own creating. As far as 
a visitor could judge, the results of this famous or- 
der seemed to furnish a better argument to those 
who think the United States should interfere in be- 
half of Cuba, than did the fact that men were being 
killed there, and that both sides were devastating 
the island and wrecking property worth millions of 

The order, apart from being unprecedented in 
warfare, proved an exceedingly short-sighted one, 
and acted almost immediately after the manner of 
a boomerang. The able-bodied men of each family 
who had remained loyal or at least neutral, so long 
as they were permitted to live undisturbed on their 
few acres, were not content to exist on the charity 
of a city, and they swarmed over to the insur- 
gent ranks by the hundreds, and it was only the 
old and infirm and the women and children who 
went into the towns, where they at once became a 
burden on the Spanish residents, who were already 
distressed by the lack of trade and the high prices 
asked for food. 

The order failed also in its original object of em- 
barrassing the insurgents, for they are used to liv- 
ing out of doors and to finding food for themselves, 
and the destruction of the huts where they had been 
made welcome was not a great loss to men who, in 

The Fate of the Pacificos 43 

a few minutes, with the aid of a machete, can con- 
struct a shelter from a palm tree. 

So the order failed to distress those against whom 
it was aimed, but brought swift and terrible suffer- 
ing to those who were and are absolutely innocent 
of any intent against the government, as well as to 
the adherents of the government. 

It is easy to imagine what happened when hun- 
dreds of people, in some towns thousands, were 
herded together on the bare ground, with no food, 
with no knowledge of sanitation, with no covering 
for their heads but palm leaves, with no privacy for 
the women and young girls, with no thought but as 
to how they could live until to-morrow. 

It is true that in the country, also, these people 
had no covering for their huts but palm leaves, but 
those huts were made stoutly to endure. When 
a man built one of them he was building his home, 
not a shelter tent, and they were placed well apart 
from one another, with the free air of the plain or 
mountain blowing about them, with room for the 
sun to beat down and drink up the impurities, and 
with patches of green things growing in rows over 
the few acres. I have seen them like that all over 
Cuba, and I am sure that no disease could have 
sprung from houses built so admirably to admit the 
sun and the air. 

44 Cuba in War Time 

I have also seen them, I might add in parenthe- 
sis, rising in sluggish columns of black smoke 
against the sky, hundreds of them, while those who 
had lived in them for years stood huddled together 
at a distance, watching the flames run over the dry 
rafters of their homes, roaring and crackling with 
delight, like something human or inhuman, and 
marring the beautiful sunlit landscape with great 
blotches of red flames. 

The huts in which these people live at present 
lean one against the other, and there are no broad 
roads nor green tobacco patches to separate one 
from another. There are, on the contrary, only 
narrow paths, two feet wide, where dogs and 
cattle and human beings tramp over daily growing 
heaps of refuse and garbage and filth, and where 
malaria rises at night in a white winding sheet of 
poisonous mist. 

The condition of these people differs in degree; 
some are living the life of gypsies, others are as des- 
titute as so many shipwrecked emigrants, and still 
others find it difficult to hold up their heads and 

In Jaruco, in the Havana province, a town of 
only two thousand inhabitants, the deaths from 
small-pox averaged seven a day for the month of 
December, and while Frederic Remington and I 

A Spanish Guerrilla 


The Fate of the Pacificos 47 

were there, six victims of small-pox were carried 
past us up the hill to the burying ground in the 
space of twelve hours. There were Spanish sol- 
diers as well as pacificos among these, for the 
Spanish officers either know or care nothing about 
the health of their men. 

There is no attempt made to police these military 
camps, and in Jaruco the filth covered the streets 
and the plaza ankle-deep, and even filled the cor- 
ners of the church which had been turned into a 
fort, and had hammocks swung from the altars. 
The huts of the pacificos, with from four to six peo- 
ple in each, were jammed together in rows a quar- 
ter of a mile long, within ten feet of the cavalry 
barracks, where sixty men and horses had lived for 
a month. Next to the stables were the barracks. No 
one was vaccinated, no one was clean, and all of 
them were living on half rations. 

Jaruco was a little worse than the other towns, 
but I found that the condition of the people is about 
the same everywhere. Around every town and 
even around the forts outside of the towns, you will 
see from one hundred to five hundred of these palm 
huts, with the people crouched about them, covered 
with rags, starving, with no chanae to obtain work. 

In the city of Matanzas the huts have been built 
upon a hill, and so far neither small-pox nor yellow 

48 Cuba in War Time 

fever has made headway there; but there is nothing 
for these people to eat, either, and while I was there 
three babies died from plain, old-fashioned starva- 
tion and no other cause. 

The government's report for the year just ended 
gives the number of deaths in three hospitals of 
Matanzas as three hundred and eighty for the year, 
which is an average of a little over one death a day. 
As a matter of fact, in the military hospital alone the 
soldiers during several months of last year died at 
the rate of sixteen a day. It seems hard that Spain 
should hold Cuba at such a sacrifice of her own 

In Cardenas, one of the principal seaport towns 
of the island, I found the pacificos lodged in huts at 
the back of the town and also in abandoned 
warehouses along the water front. The condition 
of these latter was so pitiable that it is difficult to 
describe it correctly and hope to be believed. 

The warehouses are built on wooden posts 
about fifty feet from the water's edge. They were 
originally nearly as large in extent as Madison 
Square Garden, but the half of the roof of one has 
fallen in, carrying the flooring with it, and the 
adobe walls and one side of the sloping roof and the 
high wooden piles on which half of the floor once 
rested are all that remain. 

The Fate of the Pacificos 49 

Some time ago an unusually high tide swept in 
under one of these warehouses and left a pool of 
water a hundred yards long and as many wide, 
around the wooden posts, and it has remained there 
undisturbed. This pool is now covered a half-inch 
thick with green slime, colored blue and yellow, 
and with a damp fungus spread over the wooden 
posts and up the sides of the walls. 

Over this sewage are now living three hundred 
women and children and a few men. The floor be- 
neath them has rotted away, and the planks have 
broken and fallen into the pool, leaving big gaps, 
through which rise day and night deadly stenches 
and poisonous exhalations from the pool below. 

The people above it are not ignorant of their sit- 
uation. They know that they are living over a 
death-trap, but there is no other place for them. 
Bands of guerrillas and flying columns have driven 
them in like sheep to this city, and, with no money 
and no chance to obtain work, they have taken 
shelter in the only place that is left open to them. 

With planks and blankets and bits of old sheet 
iron they have, for the sake of decency, put up bar- 
riers across these abandoned warehouses, and there 


they are now sitting on the floor or stretched on 
heaps of rags, gaunt and hollow-eyed. Outside, in 
the angles of the fallen walls, and among the refuse 

50 Cuba in War Time 

of the warehouses, they have built fireplaces, and, 
with the few pots and kettles they use in common, 
they cook what food the children can find or beg. 

One gentleman of Cardenas told me that a hun- 
dred of these people called at his house every day 
for a bit of food. 

Old negroes and little white children, some of 
them as beautiful, in spite of their rags, as any chil- 
dren I ever saw, act as providers for this hapless 
colony. They beg the food and gather the sticks 
and do the cooking. Inside the old women and 
young mothers sit on the rotten planks listless and 
silent, staring ahead of them at nothing. 

I saw the survivors of the Johnstown flood when 
the horror of that disaster was still plainly written 
in their eyes, but destitute as they were of home and 
food and clothing, they were in better plight than 
those fever-stricken, starving pacificos, who have 
sinned in no way, who have given no aid to the reb- 
els, and whose only crime is that they lived in the 
country instead of in the town. They are now to 
suffer because General Weyler, finding that he can- 
not hold the country as he can the towns, lays it 
waste and treats those who lived there with less 
consideration than the Sultan of Morocco shows to 
the murderers in his jail at Tangier. Had these 
people been guilty of the most unnatural crimes, 









The Fate of the Pacificos 53 

their punishment could not have been more severe 
nor their end more certain. 

I found the hospital for this colony behind three 
blankets which had been hung across a corner of 
the warehouse. A young woman and a man were 
lying side by side, the girl on a cot and the man on 
the floor. The others sat within a few feet of them 
on the other side of the blankets, apparently lost to 
all sense of their danger, and too dejected and hope- 
less to even raise their eyes when I gave them 

A fat little doctor was caring for the sick woman, 
and he pointed through the cracks in the floor at 
the green slime below us, and held his fingers to his 
nose and shrugged his shoulders. I asked him 
what ailed his patients, and he said it was yellow 
fever, and pointed again at the slime, which moved 
and bubbled in the hot sun. 

He showed me babies with the skin drawn so 
tightly over their little bodies that the bones 
showed through as plainly as the rings under a 
glove. They were covered with sores, and they 
protested as loudly as they could against the treat- 
ment which the world was giving them, clinching 
their fists and sobbing with pain when the sore 
places came in contact with their mothers' arms. A 
planter who had at one time employed a large 

54 Cuba in War Time 

number of these people, and who was moving about 
among them, said that five hundred had died in 
Cardenas since the order to leave the fields had 
been issued. Another gentleman told me that in 
the huts at the back of the town there had been 
twenty-five cases of small-pox in one week, of 
which seventeen had resulted in death. 

I do not know that the United States will in- 
terfere in the affairs of Cuba, but whatever may 
happen later, this is what is likely to happen now, 
and it should have some weight in helping to de- 
cide the question with those whose proper busi- 
ness it is to determine it. 

Thousands of human beings are now herded 
together around the seaport towns of Cuba who 
cannot be fed, who have no knowledge of cleanli- 
ness or sanitation, who have no doctors to care for 
them and who cannot care for themselves. 

Many of them are dying of sickness and some of 
starvation, and this is the healthy season. In 
April and May the rains will come, and the fever 
will thrive and spread, and cholera, yellow fever 
and small-pox will turn Cuba into one huge plague 
spot, and the farmers' sons whom Spain has sent 
over here to be soldiers, and who are dying by the 
dozens before they have learned to pull the comb 
off a bunch of cartridges, are going to die by the 

The Fate of the Pacificos 55 

hundreds, and women and children who are inno- 
cent of any offense will die with them, and there 
will be a quarantine against Cuba, and no vessel 
can come into her ports or leave them. 

All this is going to happen, I am led to believe, 
not from what I saw in any one village, but in hun- 
dreds of villages. It will not do to put it aside by 
saying that "War is war," and that "All war is 
cruel," or to ask, "Am I my brother's keeper?" 

In other wars men have fought with men, and 
women have suffered indirectly because the men 
were killed, but in this war it is the women, herded 
together in the towns like cattle, who are going to 
die, while the men, camped in the fields and the 
mountains, will live. 

It is a situation which charity might help to bet- 
ter, but in any event it is a condition which deserves 
the most serious consideration from men of com- 
mon sense and judgment, and one not to be treated 
with hysterical head lines nor put aside as a neces- 
sary evil of war. 

The Death of Rodriguez 






' c 


The Death of Rodriguez 

Adolfo Rodriguez was the only son of a Cuban 
farmer, who lives nine miles outside of Santa Clara, 
beyond the hills that surround that city to the 

When the revolution broke out young Rodriguez 
joined the insurgents, leaving his father and mother 
and two sisters at the farm. He was taken, in 
December of 1896, by a force of the Guardia Civile, 
the corps d'elite of the Spanish army, and defended 
himself when they tried to capture him, wounding 
three of them with his machete. 

He was tried by a military court for bearing 
arms against the government, and sentenced to be 
shot by a fusillade some morning, before sunrise. 

Previous to execution, he was confined in the 
military prison of Santa Clara, with thirty other 
insurgents, all of whom were sentenced to be shot, 
one after the other, on mornings following the exe- 
cution of Rodriguez. 

His execution took place the morning of the iQth 
of January, at a place a half-mile distant from the 
city, on the great plain that stretches from the forts 

60 Cuba in War Time 

out to the hills, beyond which Rodriguez had lived 
for nineteen years. At the time of his death he was 
twenty years old. 

I witnessed his execution, and what follows is an 
account of the way he went to death. The young 
man's friends could not be present, for it was im- 
possible for them to show themselves in that crowd 
and that place with wisdom or without distress, and 
I like to think that, although Rodriguez could not 
know it, there was one person present when he died 
who felt keenly for him, and who was a sympa- 
thetic though unwilling spectator. 

There had been a full moon the night preceding 
the execution, and when the squad of soldiers 
marched out from town it was still shining brightly 
through the mists, although it was past five o'clock. 
It lighted a plain two miles in extent broken by 
ridges and gullies and covered with thick, high grass 
and with bunches of cactus and palmetto. In the 
hollow of the ridges the mist lay like broad lakes of 
water, and on one side of the plain stood the walls 
of the old town. On the other rose hills covered 
with royal palms, that showed white in the moon- 
light, like hundreds of marble columns. A line of 
tiny camp fires that the sentries had built during the 
night stretched between the forts at regular inter- 
vals and burned brightly. 

The Death of Rodriguez 61 

But as the light grew stronger, and the moon- 
light faded, these were stamped out, and when the 
soldiers came in force the moon was a white ball in 
the sky, without radiance, the fires had sunk to 
ashes, and the sun had not yet risen. 

So, even when the men were formed into three 
sides of a hollow square, they were scarcely able to 
distinguish one another in the uncertain light of the 

There were about three hundred soldiers in the 
formation. They belonged to the Volunteers, and 
they deployed upon the plain with their band in 
front, playing a jaunty quickstep, while their offi- 
cers galloped from one side to the other through 
the grass, seeking out a suitable place for the ex- 
ecution, while the band outside the line still played 

A few men and boys, who had been dragged out 
of their beds by the music, moved about the ridges, 
behind the soldiers, half-clothed, unshaven, sleepy- 
eyed, yawning and stretching themselves nerv- 
ously and shivering in the cool, damp air of the 

Either owing to discipline or on account of the 
nature of their errand or because the men were 
still but half awake, there was no talking in the 
ranks, and the soldiers stood motionless, leaning 

62 Cuba in War Time 

on their rifles, with their backs turned to the town, 
looking out across the plain to the hills. 

The men in the crowd behind them were also 
grimly silent. They knew that whatever they 
might say would be twisted into a word of 
sympathy for the condemned man or a protest 
against the government. So no one spoke; even 
the officers gave their orders in gruff whispers, 
and the men in the crowd did not mix together, 
but looked suspiciously at one another and kept 

As the light increased a mass of people came hur- 
rying from the town with two black figures leading 
them, and the soldiers drew up at attention, and 
part of the double line fell back and left an opening 
in the square. 

With us a condemned man walks only the short 
distance from his cell to the scaffold or the electric 
chair, shielded from sight by the prison walls; and 
it often occurs even then that the short journey is 
too much for his strength and courage. 

But the merciful Spaniards on this morning 
made the prisoner walk for over a half-mile across 
the broken surface of the fields. I expected to 
find the man, no matter what his strength at other 
times might be, stumbling and faltering on this cruel 
journey, but as he came nearer I saw that he led 

Young Spanish Officer 

The Death of Rodriguez 65 

all the others, that the priests on either side of him 
were taking two steps to his one, and that they 
were tripping on their gowns and stumbling over 
the hollows, in their efforts to keep pace with him 
as he walked, erect and soldierly, at a quick step in 
advance of them. 

He had a handsome, gentle face of the peasant 
type, a light, pointed beard, great wistful eyes and a 
mass of curly black hair. He was shockingly 
young for such a sacrifice, and looked more like a 
Neapolitan than a Cuban. You could imagine him 
sitting on the quay at Naples or Genoa, lolling in 
the sun and showing his white teeth when he 
laughed. He wore a new scapula around his neck, 
hanging outside his linen blouse. 

It seems a petty thing to have been pleased with 
at such a time, but I confess to have felt a thrill of 
satisfaction when I saw, as the Cuban passed me, 
that he held a cigarette between his lips, not arro- 
gantly nor with bravado, but with the nonchalance 
of a man who meets his punishment fearlessly, and 
who will let his enemies see that they can kill but 
can not frighten him. 

It was very quickly finished, with rough, and, 
but for one frightful blunder, with merciful swift- 
ness. The crowd fell back when it came to the 
square, and the condemned man, the priests and 

66 Cuba in War Time 

the firing squad of six young volunteers passed in 
and the line closed behind them. 

The officer who had held the cord that bound 
the Cuban's arms behind him and passed across his 
breast, let it fall on the grass and drew his sword, 
and Rodriguez dropped his cigarette from his lips 
and bent and kissed the cross which the priest held 
up before him. 

The elder of the priests moved to one side and 
prayed rapidly in a loud whisper, while the other, a 
younger man, walked away behind the firing squad 
and covered his face with his hands and turned his 
back. They had both spent the last twelve hours 
with Rodriguez in the chapel of the prison. 

The Cuban walked to where the officer directed 
him to stand, and turned his back to the square 
and faced the hills and the road across them which 
led to his father's farm. 

As the officer gave the first command he 
straightened himself as far as the cords would 
allow, and held up his head and fixed his eyes 
immovably on the morning light which had just 
begun to show above the hills. 

He made a picture of such pathetic helplessness, 
but of such courage and dignity, that he reminded 
me on the instant of that statue of Nathan Hale, 
which stands in the City Hall Park, above the roar of 

The Death of Rodriguez 67 

Broadway, and teaches a lesson daily to the hur- 
rying crowds of moneymakers who pass beneath. 

The Cuban's arms were bound, as are those of the 
statue, and he stood firmly, with his weight resting 
on his heels like a soldier on parade, and with his 
face held up fearlessly, as is that of the statue. But 
there was this difference, that Rodriguez, while 
probably as willing to give six lives for his country 
as was the American rebel, being only a peasant, 
did not think to say so, and he will not, in conse- 
quence, live in bronze during the lives of many 
men, but will be remembered only as one of thirty 
Cubans, one of whom was shot at Santa Clara on 
each succeeding day at sunrise. 

The officer had given the order, the men had 
raised their pieces, and the condemned man had 
heard the clicks of the triggers as they were pulled 
back, and he had not moved. And then happened 
one of the most cruelly refined, though uninten- 
tional, acts of torture that one can very well 
imagine. As the officer slowly raised his sword, 
preparatory to giving the signal, one of the 
mounted officers rode up to him and pointed out 
silently what I had already observed with some sat- 
isfaction, that the firing squad were so placed that 
when they fired they would shoot several of the sol- 
diers stationed on the extreme end of the square. 

68 Cuba in War Time 

Their captain motioned his men to lower their 
pieces, and then walked across the grass and laid 
his hand on the shoulder of the waiting prisoner. 

It is not pleasant to think what that shock must 
have been. The man had steeled himself to receive 
a volley of bullets in his back. He believed that in 
the next instant he would be in another world; he 
had heard the command given, had heard the click 
of the Mausers as the locks caught and then, at 
that supreme moment, a human hand had been 
laid upon his shoulder and a voice spoke in his ear. 

You would expect that any man who had been 
snatched back to life in such a fashion would start 
and tremble at the reprieve, or would break down 
altogether, but this boy turned his head steadily, 
and followed with his eyes the direction of the offi- 
cer's sword, then nodded his head gravely, and, 
with his shoulders squared, took up a new position, 
straightened his back again, and once more held 
himself erect. 

As an exhibition of self-control this should surely 
rank above feats of heroism performed in battle, 
where there are thousands of comrades to give in- 
spiration. This man was alone, in the sight of the 
hills he knew, with only enemies about him, with 
no source to draw on for strength but that which 
lay within himself. 








The Death of Rodriguez 71 

The officer of the firing squad, mortified by his 
blunder, hastily whipped up his sword, the men 
once more leveled their rifles, the sword rose, 
dropped, and the men fired. At the report the 
Cuban's head snapped back almost between his 
shoulders, but his body fell slowly, as though some 
one had pushed him gently forward from behind 
and he had stumbled. 

He sank on his side in the wet grass without a 
struggle or sound, and did not move again. 

It was difficult to believe that he meant to lie 
there, that it could be ended so without a word, 
that the man in the linen suit would not get up on 
his feet and continue to walk on over the hills, as he 
apparently had started to do, to his home; that there 
was not a mistake somewhere, or that at least some 
one would be sorry or say something or run to pick 
him up. 

But, fortunately, he did not need help, and the 
priests returned the younger one, with the tears 
running down his face and donned their vest- 
ments and read a brief requiem for his soul, while 
the squad stood uncovered, and the men in hollow 
square shook their accoutrements into place, and 
shifted their pieces and got ready for the order to 
march, and the band began again with the same 
quickstep which the fusillade had interrupted. 

72 Cuba in War Time 

The figure still lay on the grass untouched, and 
no one seemed to remember that it had walked 
there of itself, or noticed that the cigarette still 
burned, a tiny ring of living fire, at the place where 
the figure had first stood. 

The figure was a thing of the past, and the squad 
shook itself like a great snake, and then broke into 
little pieces and started off jauntily, stumbling in 
the high grass and striving to keep step to the 

The officers led it past the figure in the linen suit, 
and so close to it that the file closers had to part 
with the column to avoid treading on it. Each sol- 
dier as he passed turned and looked down on it, 
some craning their necks curiously, others giving a 
careless glance, and some without any interest at 
all, as they would have looked at a house by the 
roadside or a passing cart or a hole in the road. 

One young soldier caught his foot in a trailing 
vine, and fell forward just opposite to it. He grew 
very red when his comrades giggled at him for his 
awkwardness. The crowd of sleepy spectators fell 
in on either side of the band. They had forgotten 
it, too, and the priests put their vestments back in 
the bag and wrapped their heavy cloaks about 
them, and hurried off after the others. 

Every one seemed to have forgotten it except 

The Death of Rodriguez 73 

two men, who came slowly toward it from the town, 
driving a bullock cart that bore an unplaned coffin, 
each with a cigarette between his lips, and with his 
throat wrapped in a shawl to keep out the morning 

At that moment the sun, which had shown some 
promise of its coming in the glow above the hills, 
shot up suddenly from behind them in all the 
splendor of the tropics, a fierce, red disc of heat, 
and filled the air with warmth and light. 

The bayonets of the retreating column flashed in 
it, and at the sight of it a rooster in a farmyard near 
by crowed vigorously and a dozen bugles answered 
the challenge with the brisk, cheery notes of the 
reveille, and from all parts of the city the church 
bells jangled out the call for early mass, and the 
whole world of Santa Clara seemed to stir and 
stretch itself and to wake to welcome the day just 

But as I fell in at the rear of the procession and 
looked back the figure of the young Cuban, who 
was no longer a part of the world of Santa Clara, 
was asleep in the wet grass, with his motionless 
arms still tightly bound behind him, with the scap- 
ula twisted awry across his face and the blood from 
his breast sinking into the soil he had tried to free. 

Along the Trocha 

Regular Cavalryman Spanish 
7 6 

Along the Trocha 

This is an account of a voyage of discovery along 
the Spanish trocha, the one at the eastern end of 
Cuba. It is the longer of the two, and stretches 
from coast to coast at the narrowest part of that 
half of the island, from Jucaro on the south to Mo- 
ron on the north. 

Before I came to Cuba this time I had read 
in our newspapers about the Spanish trocha without 
knowing just what a trocha was. I imagined it to 
be a rampart of earth and fallen trees, topped with 
barbed wire; a Rubicon that no one was allowed to 
pass, but which the insurgents apparently crossed 
at will with the ease of little girls leaping over a 
flying skipping rope. In reality it seems to be a 
much more important piece of engineering than is 
generally supposed, and one which, when com- 
pleted, may prove an absolute barrier to the pro- 
gress of large bodies of troops unless they are 
supplied with artillery. 

I saw twenty-five of its fifty miles, and the engi- 
neers in charge told me that I was the first Ameri- 
can, or foreigner of any nationality, who had been 

78 Cuba in War Time 

allowed to visit it and make drawings and photo- 
graphs of it. Why they allowed me to see it I do 
not know, nor can I imagine either why they should 
have objected to my doing so. There is no great 
mystery about it. 

Indeed, what impressed me most concerning 
it was the fact that every bit of material used in 
constructing this backbone of the Spanish defence, 
this strategic point of all their operations, and their 
chief hope of success against the revolutionists, was 
furnished by their despised and hated enemies in 
the United States. Every sheet of armor plate, 
every corrugated zinc roof, every roll of barbed 
wire, every plank, beam, rafter and girder, even the 
nails that hold the planks together, the forts them- 
selves, shipped in sections, which are numbered in 
readiness for setting up, the ties for the military rail- 
road which clings to the trocha from one sea to the 
other all of these have been supplied by manufac- 
turers in the United States. 

This is interesting when one remembers that the 
American in the Spanish illustrated papers is rep- 
resented as a hog, and generally with the United 
States flag for trousers, and Spain as a noble and 
valiant lion. Yet it would appear that the lion is 
willing to save a few dollars on freight by buying 
his armament from his hoggish neighbor, and that 

Along the Trocha 79 

the American who cheers for Cuba Libre is not at 
all averse to making as many dollars as he can in 
building the wall against which the Cubans may be 
eventually driven and shot. 

If the insurgents have found as much difficulty in 
crossing the trocha by land as I found in reaching 
it by water, they are deserving of all sympathy as 
patient and long-suffering individuals. 

A thick jungle stretches for miles on either side 
of the trocha, and the only way of reaching it 
from the outer world is through the seaports at 
either end. Of these, Moron is all but landlocked, 
and Jucaro is guarded by a chain of keys, which 
make it necessary to reship all the troops and 
their supplies and all the material for the trocha to 
lighters, which meet the vessels six miles out at 

A dirty Spanish steamer drifted with us for two 
nights and a day from Cienfuegos to Jucaro, and 
three hundred Spanish soldiers, dusty, ragged and 
barefooted, owned her as completely as though she 
had been a regular transport. They sprawled at 
full length over every deck, their guns were stacked 
in each corner, and their hammocks swung four 
deep from railings and riggings and across com- 
panionways, and even from the bridge itself. It 
was not possible to take a step without treading on 

80 Cuba in War Time 

one of them, and their hammocks made a walk on 
the deck something like a hurdle race. 

With the soldiers, and crowding them for space, 
were the officers' mules and ponies, steers, calves 
and squealing pigs, while crates full of chickens were 
piled on top of one another as high as the hurricane 
deck, so that the roosters and the buglers vied with 
each other in continual contests. It was like trav- 
eling with a floating menagerie. Twice a day the 
bugles sounded the call for breakfast and dinner, 
and the soldiers ceased to sprawl, and squatted on 
the deck around square tin cans filled with soup or 
red wine, from which they fed themselves with 
spoons and into which they dipped their rations of 
hard tack, after first breaking them on the deck 
with a blow from a bayonet or crushing them with 
a rifle butt. 

The steward brought what was supposed to be a 
sample of this soup to the officer seated in the pilot 
house high above the squalor, and he would pick 
out a bean from the mess on the end of a fork and 
place it to his lips and nod his head gravely, and the 
grinning steward would carry the dish away. 

But the soldiers seemed to enjoy it very much, 
and to be content, even cheerful. There are many 
things to admire about the Spanish Tommy. In the 
seven fortified cities which I visited, where there 

One of the Block Houses 

From a photograph taken by Mr. Davis 


Along the Trocha 83 

were thousands of him, I never saw one drunk or 
aggressive, which is much more than you can say of 
his officers. On the march he is patient, eager 
and alert. He trudges from fifteen to thirty miles 
a day over the worst roads ever constructed by 
man, in canvas shoes with rope soles, carrying 
one hundred and fifty cartridges, fifty across his 
stomach and one hundred on his back, weighing in 
all fifty pounds. 

With these he has his Mauser, his blanket and an 
extra pair of shoes, and as many tin plates and bot- 
tles and bananas and potatoes and loaves of white 
bread as he can stow away in his blouse and knap- 
sack. And this under a sun which makes even a 
walking stick seem a burden. In spite of his offi- 
cers, and not on account of them, he maintains good 
discipline, and no matter how tired he may be or 
how much he may wish to rest on his plank bed, he 
will always struggle to his feet when the officers 
pass, and stand at salute. He gets very little in 
return for his efforts. 

One Sunday night, when the band was playing 
in the plaza, at a heaven-forsaken fever camp called 
Ciego de Avila, a group of soldiers were sitting 
near me on the grass enjoying the music. They 
loitered there a few minutes after the bugle had 
sounded the retreat to the barracks, and the officer 

84 Cuba in War Time 

of the day found them. When they stood up he 
ordered them to report themselves at the cartel 
under arrest, and then, losing all control of himself, 
lashed one little fellow over the head with his col- 
onel's staff, while the boy stood with his eyes shut 
and with his lips pressed together, but holding his 
hand at salute until the officer's stick beat it down. 

These soldiers are from the villages and towns 
of Spain; some of them are not more than seven- 
teen years old, and they are not volunteers. They 
do not care whether Spain owns an island eighty 
miles from the United States, or loses it, but they 
go out to it and have their pay stolen, and are put 
to building earth forts and stone walls, and die of 
fever. It seems a poor return for their unconscious 
patriotism when a colonel thrashes one of them as 
though he were a dog, especially as he knows the 
soldier may not strike back. 

The second night out the ship steward showed 
us a light lying low in the water, and told us that 
was Jucaro, and we accepted his statement and 
went over the side into an open boat, in which we 
drifted about until morning, while the colored man 
who owned the boat, and a little mulatto boy who 
steered it, quarreled as to where exactly the town 
of Jucaro might be. They brought us up at last 
against a dark shadow of a house, built on wooden 

Spanish Cavalry 

From photographs taken by Mr. Davis 


Along the Trocha 

posts, and apparently floating in the water. This 
was the town of Jucaro as seen at that hour of the 
night, and as we left it before sunrise the next 
morning, I did not know until my return whether 
I had slept in a stationary ark or on the end of a 

We found four other men sleeping on the floor 
in the room assigned us, and outside, eating by a 
smoking candle, a young English boy, who looked 
up and laughed when he heard us speak, and said: 

"You've come at last, have you? You are the 
first white men I've seen since I came here. That's 
twelve months ago." 

He was the cable operator at Jucaro; and he sits 
all day in front of a sheet of white paper, and 
watches a ray of light play across an imaginary line, 
and he can tell by its quivering, so he says, 
all that is going on all over the world. Out- 
side of his whitewashed cable office is the land- 
locked bay, filled with wooden piles to keep 
out the sharks, and back of him lies the village 
of Jucaro, consisting of two open places filled with 
green slime and filth and thirty huts. But the 
operator said that what with fishing and bathing 
and "Tit-Bits" and "Lloyd's Weekly Times," Ju- 
caro was quite enjoyable. He is going home the 
year after this. 

Cuba in War Time 

"At least, that's how I put it," he explained. 
"My contract requires me to stop on here until De- 
cember of 1898, but it doesn't sound so long if you 
say 'a year after this/ does it?" He had had the 
yellow fever, and had never, owing to the war, been 
outside of Jucaro. "Still," he added, "I'm seeing 
the world, and I've always wanted to visit foreign 

As one of the few clean persons I met in Cuba, 
and the only contented one, I hope the cable oper- 
ator at Jucaro will get a rise in salary soon, and 
some day see more of foreign parts than he is see- 
ing at present, and at last get back to "the Horse 
Shoe, at the corner of Tottenham Court Road and 
Oxford street, sir," where, as we agreed, better en- 
tertainment is to be had on Saturday night than 
anywhere in London. 

In Havana, General Weyler had given me a pass 
to enter fortified places, which, except for the 
authority which the signature implied, meant noth- 
ing, as all the cities and towns in Cuba are fortified, 
and any one can visit them. It was as though 
Mayor Strong had given a man a permit to ride in 
all the cable cars attached to cables. 

It was not intended to include the trocha, but I 
argued that if a trocha was not a "fortified place" 
nothing else was, and I persuaded the comman- 

One of the Forts along the Trocha 

From a photograph taken by Mr. Davis 


Along the Trocha 91 

dante at Jucaro to take that view of it and to vise 
Weyler's order. So at five the following morning a 
box car, with wooden planks stretched across it for 
seats, carried me along the line of the trocha from 
Jucaro to Ciego, the chief military port on the for- 
tifications, and consumed five hot and stifling hours 
in covering twenty-five miles. 

The trocha is a cleared space, one hundred and 
fifty to two hundred yards wide, which stretches for 
fifty miles through what is apparently an impass- 
able jungle. The trees which have been cut down 
in clearing this passageway have been piled up at 
either side of the cleared space and laid in parallel 
rows, forming a barrier of tree trunks and roots 
and branches as wide as Broadway and higher than 
a man's head. It would take a man some time to 
pick his way over these barriers, and a horse could 
no more do it than it could cross a jam of floating 
logs in a river. 

Between the fallen trees lies the single track of 
the military railroad, and on one side of that is the 
line of forts and a few feet beyond them a maze of 
barbed wire. Beyond the barbed wire again is 
the other barrier of fallen trees and the jungle. In 
its unfinished state this is not an insurmountable 
barricade. Gomez crossed it last November by 
daylight with six hundred men, and with but the 

92 Cuba in War Time 

loss of twenty-seven killed and as many wounded. 
To-day it would be more difficult, and in a few 
months, without the aid of artillery, it will be 
impossible, except with the sacrifice of a great loss 
of life. The forts are of three kinds. They are best 
described as the forts, the block houses and the lit- 
tle forts. A big fort consists of two stories, with a 
cellar below and a watch tower above. It is made 
of stone and adobe, and is painted a glaring 
white. One of these is placed at intervals of every 
half mile along the trocha, and on a clear day the 
sentry in the watch tower of each can see three forts 
on either side. 

Midway between the big forts, at a distance of a 
quarter of a mile from each, is a block house of two 
stories with the upper story of wood, overhanging 
the lower foundation of mud. These are placed at 
right angles to the railroad, instead of facing it, as 
do the forts. 

Between each block house and each fort are three 
little forts of mud and planks, surrounded by a 
ditch. They look something like a farmer's ice 
house as we see it at home, and they are about as 
hot inside as the other is cold. They hold five men, 
and are within hailing distance of one another. 
Back of them are three rows of stout wooden 
stakes, with barbed wire stretching from one row 

Along the Trocha 93 

to the other, interlacing and crossing and running 
in and out above and below, like an intricate cat's 
cradle of wire. 

One can judge how closely knit it is by the fact 
that to every twelve yards of posts there are four 
hundred and fifty yards of wire fencing. The 
forts are most completely equipped in their way, 
but twelve men in the jungle would find it quite 
easy to keep twelve men securely imprisoned in one 
of them for an indefinite length of time. 

The walls are about twelve feet high, with a cel- 
lar below and a vault above the cellar. The roof 
of the vault forms a platform, around which the 
four walls rise to the height of a man's shoulder. 
There are loopholes for rifles in the sides of the 
vault, and where the platform joins the walls. These 
latter allow the men in the fort to fire down almost 
directly upon the head of any one who comes 
up close to the wall of the fort, where, without 
these holes in the floor, it would be impossible 
to fire on him except by leaning far over the ram- 

Above the platform is an iron or zinc roof, sup- 
ported by iron pillars, and in the centre of this is 
the watch tower. The only approach to the fort is 
by a movable ladder, which hangs over the side like 
the gangway of a ship of war, and can be 

94 Cuba in War Time 

raised by those on the inside by means of a rope 
suspended over a wheel in the roof. The opening 
in the wall at the head of the ladder is closed at 
the time of an attack by an iron platform, to which 
the ladder leads, and which also can be raised by a 
pulley. In October of 1897 the Spanish hope to 
have calcium lights placed in the watch towers of 
the forts with sufficient power to throw a search- 
light over a quarter of a mile, or to the next block 
house, and so keep the trocha as well lighted as 
Broadway from one end to the other. 

As a further protection against the insurgents 
the Spaniards have distributed a number of bombs 
along the trocha, which they showed with great 
pride. These are placed at those points along the 
trocha where the jungle is less thickly grown, and 
where the insurgents might be expected to pass. 

Each bomb is fitted with an explosive cap, to 
which five or six wires are attached and staked 
down on the ground. Any one stumbling over 
one of these wires explodes the bomb and throws 
a charge of broken iron to a distance of fifty feet. 
How the Spaniards are going to prevent stray 
cattle and their own soldiers from wandering into 
these man-traps it is difficult to understand. 

The chief engineer in charge of the trocha de- 
tailed a captain to take me over it and to show me 

The Trocha 

From a photograph taken by Mr. Davis 


Along the Trocha 97 

all that there was to see. The officers of the in- 
fantry and cavalry stationed at Ciego objected to 
his doing this, but he said: "He has a pass from 
General Weyler. I am not responsible." It was 
true that I had an order from General Weyler, 
but he had rendered it ineffective by having me 
followed about wherever I went by his police and 
spies. They sat next to me in the cafes and in the 
plazas, and when I took a cab they called the next 
one on the line and trailed after mine all around the 
city, until my driver would become alarmed for fear 
he, too, was suspected of something, and would 
take me back to the hotel. 

I had gotten rid of them at Cienfuegos by pur- 
chasing a ticket on the steamer to Santiago, three 
days further down the coast, and then dropping off 
in the night at the trocha, so while I was visiting it 
I expected to find that my non-arrival at Santiago 
had been reported, and word sent to the trocha that 
I was a newspaper correspondent. And whenever 
an officer spoke to the one who was showing me 
about, my camera appeared to grow to the size of 
a trunk, and to weigh like lead, and I felt lonely, 
and longed for the company of the cheerful cable 
operator at the other end of the trocha. 

But as I had seen Mr. Gillette in "Secret Ser- 
vice" only seventeen times before leaving New 

Cuba in War Time 

York, I knew just what to do, which was to smoke 
all the time and keep cool. The latter require- 
ment was somewhat difficult, as Ciego de Avila is a 
hotter place than Richmond. Indeed, I can only 
imagine one place hotter than Ciego, and I have not 
been there. 

Ciego was an interesting town. During every 
day of the last rainy season an average of thirty 
soldiers and officers died there of yellow fever. 
While I was there I saw two soldiers, one quite an 
old man, drop down in the street as though they 
had been shot, and lie in the road until they were 
carried to the yellow fever ward of the hospital, 
under the black oilskin cloth of the stretchers. 

There was a very smart officers' club at Ciego 
well supplied with a bar and billiard tables, which I 
made some excuse for not entering, but which 
could be seen through its open doors, and I sug- 
gested to one of the members that it must be a 
comfort to have such a place, where the officers 
might go after their day's march on the mud banks 
of the trocha, and where they could bathe and be 
cool and clean. He said there were no baths in the 
club nor anywhere in the town. He added that he 
thought it might be a good idea to have them. 

The bath tub is the dividing line between savages 
and civilized beings. And when I learned that 

Along the Trocha 99 

regiment after regiment of Spanish officers and 
gentlemen have been stationed in that town and 
it was the dirtiest, hottest and dustiest town I ever 
visited for eighteen months, and none of them 
had wanted a bath, I believed from that moment all 
the stories I had heard about their butcheries and 
atrocities, stories which I had verified later by 
more direct evidence. 

From a military point of view the trocha im- 
pressed me as a weapon which could be made to 
cut both ways. What the Spaniards think of it is 
shown by the caricature which appeared lately in 
"Don Quixote," and which shows the United 
States represented by a hog and the insurgents rep- 
resented by a negro imprisoned in the trocha, while 
Weyler stands ready to turn the Spanish lion on 
them and watch it gobble them up. 

It would be unkind were Spain to do anything so 
inconsiderate, and besides, the United States is 
rather a large mouthful even without the insur- 
gents who taken alone seem to have given the lion 
some pangs of indigestion. 

If the trocha were situated on a broad plain or 
prairie with a mile of clear ground on either side of 
it, where troops could manoeuvre, and which would 
prevent the enemy from stealing up to it unseen, it 
might be a useful line of defence. But at present, 

ioo Cuba in War Time 

along its entire length, stretches this almost impas- 
sable barrier of jungle. Now suppose the troops 
are sent at short notice from the military camps 
along the line to protect any particular point? 

Not less than a thousand soldiers must be sent 
forward, and one can imagine what their condition 
would be were they forced to manoeuvre in a space 
one hundred and fifty yards broad, the half of which 
is taken up with barbed wire fences, fallen trees and 
explosive bomb shells. Only two hundred at the 
most could find shelter in the forts, which would 
mean that eight hundred men would be left outside 
the breastworks and scattered over a distance of a 
half mile, with a forest on both sides of them, from 
which the enemy could fire volley after volley into 
their ranks, protected from pursuit not only by the 
jungle, but by the walls of fallen trees which the 
Spaniards themselves have placed there. 

A trocha in an open plain, as were the English 
trochas in the desert around Suakin, makes an ad- 
mirable defence, when a few men are forced to 
withstand the assault of a great many, but fighting 
behind a trocha in a jungle is like fighting in an 
ambush, and if the trocha at Moron is ever at- 
tacked in force it will prove to be a Valley of Death 
to the Spanish troops. 

The Question of 












The Question of 

One of the questions that is most frequently 
asked of those who have been in Cuba is how much 
truth exists in the reports of Spanish butcheries. It 
is safe to say in answer to this that while the report 
of a particular atrocity may not be true, other atro- 
cities just as horrible have occurred and nothing 
has been heard of them. I was somewhat skepti- 
cal of Spanish atrocities until I came to Cuba, 
chiefly because I had been kept sufficiently long in 
Key West to learn how large a proportion of 
Cuban war news is manufactured on the piazzas of 
the hotels of that town and of Tampa by utterly 
irresponsible newspaper men who accept every 
rumor that finds its way across the gulf, and pass 
these rumors on to some of the New York papers 
as facts coming direct from the field. 

It is not surprising that one becomes skeptical, 
for if one story proves to be false, how is the reader 
to know that the others are not inventions also? 

104 Cuba in War Time 

It is difficult to believe, for instance, the account of 
a horrible butchery if you read in the para- 
graph above it that two correspondents have been 
taken prisoners by the Spanish, when both of these 
gentlemen are sitting beside you in Key West and 
are, to your certain knowledge, reading the para- 
graph over your shoulder. Nor is it unnatural 
that one should grow doubtful of reported Cuban 
victories if he reads of the taking of Santa Clara 
and the flight of the Spanish garrison from that 
city, when he is living at Santa Clara and cannot 
find a Cuban in it with sufficient temerity to assist 
him to get out of it through the Spanish lines. 

But because a Jacksonville correspondent has 
invented the tale of one butchery, it is no reason 
why the people in the United States should dismiss 
all the others as sensational fictions. After I went 
to Cuba I refused for weeks to listen to tales 
of butcheries, because I did not believe in them 
and because there seemed to be no way of 
verifying them those who had been butchered 
could not testify and their relatives were too fearful 
of the vengeance of the Spaniards to talk about 
what had befallen a brother or a father. But 
towards the end of my visit I went to Sagua la 
Grande and there met a number of Americans and 
Englishmen, concerning whose veracity there 

The Question of Atrocities 105 

could be no question. What had happened to 
their friends and the laborers on their plantations 
was exactly what had happened and is happening 
to-day to other pacificos all over the island. 

Sagua la Grande is probably no worse a city 
than others in Cuba, but it has been rendered 
notorious by the presence in that city of the guer- 
rilla chieftain, Benito Cerreros. 

Early in last December Leslie's Illustrated Weekly 
published half-tone reproductions of two photo- 
graphs which were taken in Sagua. One was a pic- 
ture of the bodies of six Cuban pacificos lying on 
their backs, with their arms and legs bound and 
their bodies showing mutilation by machetes, and 
their faces pounded and hacked out of resemblance 
to anything human. The other picture was of a 
group of Spanish guerrillas surrounding their 
leader, a little man with a heavy mustache. His 
face was quite as inhuman as the face of any of the 
dead men he had mutilated. It wore a satisfied smile 
of fatuous vanity, and of the most diabolical cruelty. 
No artist could have drawn a face from his imagina- 
tion which would have been more cruel. The 
letter press accompanying these photographs 
explained that this guerrilla leader, Benito Cerre- 
ros, had found six unarmed pacificos working in a 
field near Sagua, and had murdered them and then 

io6 Cuba in War Time 

brought their bodies in a cart to that town, and had 
paid the local photographer to take a picture of 
them and of himself and his body guard. He 
claimed that he had killed the Cubans in open bat- 
tle, but was so stupid as to forget to first remove 
the ropes with which he had bound them before he 
shot them. The photographs told the story with- 
out any aid from the letter press, and it must have 
told it to a great many people, judging from the 
number who spoke of it. It seemed as if, for the 
first time, something definite regarding the reported 
Spanish atrocities had been placed before the peo- 
ple of the United States, which they could see for 
themselves. I had this photograph in my mind 
when I came to Sagua, and on the night that I ar- 
rived there, by a coincidence, the townspeople were 
giving Cerreros a dinner to celebrate a fresh victory 
of his over two insurgents, a naturalized American 
and a native Cuban. 

The American was visiting the Cuban in the 
field, and they were lying in hiding outside of the 
town in a hut. The Cuban, who was a colonel in 
the insurgent army, had captured a Spanish spy, 
but had given him his liberty on the condition that 
he would go into Sagua and bring back some medi- 
cines. The colonel was dying of consumption, but 
he hoped that, with proper medicine, he might re- 

Amateur Surgery in Cuba 


The Question of Atrocities 109 

main alive a few months longer. The spy, instead of 
keeping his word, betrayed the hiding place of the 
Cuban and the American to Cerreros, who rode out 
by night to surprise them. He took with him 
thirty-two guerrillas, and, lest that might not be 
enough to protect him from two men, added twelve 
of the Guarda Civile to their number, making forty- 
four men in all. They surrounded the hut in which 
the Cuban and the American were concealed, and 
shot them through the window as they sat at a 
table in the light of a candle. They then hacked 
the bodies with machetes. It was in recognition of 
this victory that the banquet was tendered to Cer- 
reros by admiring friends. 

Civilized nations recognize but three methods of 
dealing with prisoners captured in war. They are 
either paroled or exchanged or put in prison; that 
is what was done with them in our rebel- 
lion. It is not allowable to shoot prisoners; at 
least it is not generally done when they are seated 
unconscious of danger at a table. It may be said, 
however, that, as these two men were in arms 
against the government, they were only suffering 
the punishment of their crime, and that this is not a 
good instance of an atrocity. There are, however, 
unfortunately, many other instances in which the 
victims were non-combatants and their death sim- 

iio Cuba in War Time 

ply murder. But it is extremely difficult to tell 
convincingly of these cases, without giving names, 
and the giving of names might lead to more deaths 
in Sagua. It is also difficult to convince the reader 
of murders for which there seems to have been no 
possible object. 

And yet Cerreros and other guerrillas are mur- 
dering men and boys in the fields around Sagua as 
wantonly and as calmly as a gardener cuts down 
weeds. The stories of these butcheries were told 
to me by Englishmen and Americans who could 
look from their verandas over miles of fields that 
belonged to them, but who could not venture with 
safety two hundred yards from their doorsteps. 
They were virtually prisoners in their own homes, 
and every spot of ground within sight of their win- 
dows marked where one of their laborers had been 
cut down, sometimes when he was going to the 
next central on an errand, or to carry the mail, and 
sometimes when he was digging potatoes or cut- 
ting sugar cane within sight of the forts. Passes 
and orders were of no avail. The guerrillas tore up 
the passes, and swore later that the men were sus- 
pects, and were at the moment of their capture 
carrying messages to the insurgents. The stories 
these planters told me were not dragged from them 
to furnish copy for a newspaper, but came out in 

The Question of Atrocities 1 1 1 

the course of our talk, as we walked over the 
small extent which the forts allowed us. 

My host would say, pointing to one of the pacifi- 
cos huddled in a corner of his machine shop: : 'That 
man's brother was killed last week about three hun- 
dred yards over there to the left while he was dig- 
ging in the field." Or, in answer to a question 
from our consul, he would say: "Oh, that boy 
who used to take care of your horse some guer- 
rillas shot him a month ago." After you hear 
stories like these during an entire day, the air seems 
to be heavy with murder, and the very ground on 
which you walk smells of blood. It was the same 
in the town, where any one was free to visit the 
cartel, and view the murdered bodies of the pacifi- 
cos hacked and beaten and stretched out as a warn- 
ing, or for public approbation. There were six so 
exposed while I was in Sagua. In Matanzas they 
brought the bodies to the Plaza at night when the 
band was playing, and the guerrillas marched 
around the open place with the bodies of 
eighteen Cubans swinging from the backs of ponies 
with their heads hanging down and bumping 
against the horses' knees. The people flocked to 
the sides of the Plaza to applaud this ghastly pro- 
cession, and the men in the open cafes cheered the 
guerrilla chief and cried, "Long live Spain!" 

1 1 2 Cuba in War Time 

Speaking dispassionately, and with a full knowl- 
edge of the details of many butcheries, it is impos- 
sible for me to think of the Spanish guerrillas other- 
wise than as worse than savage animals. A wild 
animal kills to obtain food, and not merely for the 
joy of killing. These guerrillas murder and then 
laugh over it. The cannibal, who has been supposed 
hitherto to be the lowest grade of man, is really of a 
higher caste than these Spanish murderers men 
like Colonel Fondevila, Cerreros, and Colonel 
Bonita for a cannibal kills to keep himself alive. 
These men kill to feed their vanity, in order that 
they may pose as brave soldiers, and that their 
friends may give them banquets in hotel parlors. 

If what I say seems prejudiced and extravagant 
it may be well to insert this translation from a Span- 
ish paper, El Pais: 

"There are signs of civilization among us ; but the 
truth is that we are uncultured, barbaric and cruel. 
Although this may not be willingly acknowledged, 
the fact is that we are committing acts of savagery 
of which there is no counterpart in any other Euro- 
pean country. 

"Let us not say a word of the atrocities perpe- 
trated at the Castle of Montjuich; of the iniquitous 
and miserable massacre of the Novelda republicans; 
of the shootings which occur daily in Manila; of the 





The Question of Atrocities 115 

arbitrary imprisonments which are systematically 
made here. We wish now to say something of the 
respect due to the conquered, of generosity that 
should be shown to prisoners of war, for these are 
sentiments which exist even among savage people. 

"The Cuban exiles who disembark at Cadiz are 
sent on foot to the distant castle of Figueras. The 
unfortunate exiles/ a letter from Carpio says, 
'passed here barefooted and bleeding, almost naked 
and freezing. At every town, far from finding rest 
for their fatigue, they are received with all sorts of 
insults; they are scoffed and provoked. I am in- 
dignant at this total lack of humanitarian sentiment 
and charity. I have two sons who are fighting 
against the Cuban insurgents; but this does not pre- 
vent me from denouncing those who ill-treat their 
prisoners. I have witnessed such outrages upon 
the unfortunate exiles that I do not hesitate to say 
that nothing like it has ever occurred in Africa.' 

I do not wish what I have said concerning the 
Florida correspondents to be misunderstood as re- 
ferring to those who are writing, and have written 
from the island of Cuba. They suffer from the 
"fakirs" even more than do the people of the United 
States who read the stories of both, and who con- 
found the sensation-mongers with those who go to 
find the truth at the risk of their lives. For these 

1 1 6 Cuba in War Time 

latter do risk their lives, daily and hourly, when 
they go into these conflicts looking for the facts. I 
have not been in any conflict, so I can speak of 
these men without fear of being misunderstood. 

They are taking chances that no war correspon- 
dents ever took in any war in any part of the world. 
For this is not a war it is a state of lawless butch- 
ery, and the rights of correspondents, of soldiers 
and of non-combatants are not recognized. Archi- 
bald Forbes, and "Bull Run" Russell and Frederick 
Villiers had great continental armies to protect 
them; these men work alone with a continental 
army against them. They risk capture at sea and 
death by the guns of a Spanish cruiser, and, es- 
caping that, they face when they reach the island 
the greater danger of capture there and of being 
cut down by a guerrilla force and left to die in a 
road, or of being put in a prison and left to die of 
fever, as Govin was cut down, as Delgardo died 
in prison, as Melton is lying in prison now, where 
he will continue to lie until we have a Secretary of 
State who recognizes the rights of the correspon- 
dent as a non-combatant, or at least as an Ameri- 
can citizen. 

The fate of these three American correspondents 
has not deterred others from crossing the lines, and 
they are in the field now, lying in swamps by day 

The Question of Atrocities 1 1 7 

and creeping between the forts by night, standing 
under fire by the side of Gomez as they stood beside 
Maceo, going without food, without shelter, with- 
out the right to answer the attacks of the Spanish 
troops, climbing the mountains and crawling across 
the trochas, creeping to some friendly hut for a cup 
of coffee and to place their despatches in safe 
hands, and then going back again to run the 
gauntlet of Spanish spies and of flying columns and 
of the unspeakable guerrillas. 

When you sit comfortably at your breakfast in 
New York, with a policeman at the corner, and 
read the despatches which these gentlemen write of 
Cuban victories and their interviews with self-im- 
portant Cuban chiefs, you should remember what it 
cost them to supply you with that addition to your 
morning's budget of news. Whether the result is 
worth the risk, or whether it is not paying too great 
a price, the greatest price of all, for too little, is not 
the question. The reckless bravery and the un- 
selfishness of the correspondents in the field in 
Cuba to-day are beyond parallel. 

It is as dangerous to seek for Gomez as Stanley 
found it to seek for Livingston, and as few men 
return from the insurgent camps as from the Arctic 

In case you do not read a New York paper, it is 

i i 8 Cuba in War Time 

well that you should know that the names of these 
correspondents are Grover Flint, Sylvester Scovel 
and George Bronson Rae. I repeat, that as I could 
not reach the field, I can write thus freely of those 
who have been more successful. 

The Right of Search of 
American Vessels 

An Officer of Spanish Guerrillas 


The Right of Search of 
American Vessels 

On the boat which carried me from Cuba to Key 
West were three young girls, who had been exiled 
for giving aid to the insurgents. The brother of 
one of them is in command of the Cuban forces in 
the field near Havana. More than once his sister 
had joined him there, and had seen fighting and 
carried back despatches to the Junta in Havana. 
For this she and two other young women, who 
were also suspected, were ordered to leave the 

I happened to sit next to this young lady at table 
on the steamer, and I found that she was not an 
Amazon nor a Joan of Arc nor a woman of the peo- 
ple, with a machete in one hand and a Cuban flag 
in the other. She was a well-bred, well-educated 
young person, speaking three languages. 

This is what the Spaniards did to these girls : 

After ordering them to leave the island on a cer- 
tain day they sent detectives to the houses of each on 

122 Cuba in War Time 

the morning of that day and had them undressed 
and searched by a female detective to discover if 
they were carrying letters to the Junta at Key West 
or Tampa. They were seached thoroughly, even to 
the length of taking off their shoes and stockings. 
Later, when the young ladies stood at last on the 
deck of an American vessel, with the American flag 
hanging from the stern, the Spanish officers fol- 
lowed them there, and demanded that a cabin 
should be furnished them to which the girls might 
be taken, and they were then again undressed and 
searched by this woman for the second time. 

For the benefit of people with unruly imagina- 
tions, of whom there seem to be a larger proportion 
in this country than I had supposed, I will state 
again that the search of these women was con- 
ducted by women and not by men, as I was re- 
ported to have said, and as I did not say in my 
original report of the incident. 

Spanish officers, with red crosses for bravery on 
their chests and gold lace on their cuffs, strutted 
up and down while the search was going on, and 
chancing to find a Cuban suspect among the pas- 
sengers, ordered him to be searched also, only 
they did not give him the privacy of a cabin, but 
searched his clothes and shoes and hat on the main 
deck of this American vessel before the other pas- 


The Right of Search 123 

sengers and myself and the ship's captain and his 


In order to leave Havana, it is first necessary to 
give notice of your wish to do so by sending your 
passport to the Captain General, who looks up your 
record, and, after twenty-four hours, if he is willing 
to let you go, vises your passport and so signifies 
that your request is granted. After you have com- 
plied with that requirement of martial law, and the 
Captain General has agreed to let you depart, and 
you are on board of an American vessel, the Span- 
ish soldiers' control over you and your movements 
should cease, for they relinquish all their rights 
when they give you back your passport. 

At least the case of Barrundia justifies such a 
supposition. It was then shown that, while a pas- 
senger or a member of a crew is amenable to the 
"common laws" of the country in the port in which 
the vessel lies, he is not to be disturbed for political 
offenses against her government. 

When the officers of Guatemala went on board a 
vessel of the Pacific Mail line and arrested Barrun- 
dia, who was a revolutionist, and then shot him be- 
tween decks, the American Minister, who had per- 
mitted this outrage, was immediately recalled, and 
the letter recalling him, which was written by 
James G. Blaine, clearly and emphatically sets forth 

i 24 Cuba in War Time 

the principle that a political offender is not to be 
molested on board of an American vessel, whether 
she is in the passenger trade or a ship of war. 

Prof. Joseph H. Beale, Jr., the professor of inter- 
national law at Harvard, said in reference to the 
case of these women when I first wrote of it: 

"So long as a state of war has not been recog- 
nized by this country, the Spanish government has 
not the right to stop or search our vessels on the 
high seas for contraband of war or for any other 
purpose, nor would it have the right to subject 
American citizens or an American vessel in Cuban 
waters to treatment which would not be legal in the 
case of Spanish citizens or vessels. 

"But the Spanish government has the right in 
Cuba to execute upon American citizens or vessels 
any laws prevailing there, in the same way as they 
would execute them upon the Spaniards, unless 
they are prevented by the provisions of some treaty 
with the United States. The fact that the vessel in 
the harbor of Havana was flying a neutral flag 
could not protect it from the execution of Spanish 

"However unwise or inhuman the action of the 
Spanish authorities may have been in searching the 
women on board the Olivette, they appear to have 
been within their legal rights." 







The Right of Search 127 

The Spanish Minister at Washington has also 
declared that his government has the right of search 
in the harbor of Havana. Hence in the face of two 
such authorities the question raised is probably 
answered from a legal point of view. But if that is 
the law, it would seem well to alter it, for it gives 
the Spanish authorities absolute control over the 
persons and property of Americans on American 
vessels, and that privilege in the hands of persons 
as unscrupulous and as insolent as are the Spanish 
detectives, is a dangerous one. So dangerous a 
privilege, indeed, that there is no reason nor ex- 
cuse for not keeping an American ship of war in 
the harbor of Havana. 

For suppose that letters and despatches had been 
found on the persons of these young ladies, and 
they had been put on shore and lodged in prison; 
or suppose the whole ship and every one on board 
had been searched, as the captain of the 
Olivette said the Spanish officers told him they 
might decide to do, and letters had been found on 
the Americans, and they had been ordered over the 
side and put into prison would that have been an 
act derogatory to the dignity of the United States? 
Or are we to understand that an American citizen 
or a citizen of any country, after he has asked and 
obtained permission to leave Cuba and is on board 

128 Cuba in War Time 

of an American vessel, is no more safe there than 
he would be in the insurgent camp? 

The latter supposition would seem to be correct, 
and the matter to depend on the captain of the ves- 
sel and her owners, from whom he receives his in- 
structions, and not to be one in which the United 
States government is in any way concerned. I do 
not believe the captain of a British passenger 
steamer would have allowed one of his passengers 
to be searched on the main deck of his vessel, as I 
saw this Cuban searched; nor even the captain of 
a British tramp steamer nor of a coal barge. 

The chief engineer of the Olivette declared to me 
that in his opinion, "it served them just right," and 
the captain put a cabin at the disposal of the Span- 
ish spies with eager humility. And when one of 
the detectives showed some disinclination to give 
back my passport, and I said I would keep him on 
board until he did it, the captain said: "Yes, you 
will, will you? I would like to see you try it," sug- 
gesting that he was master of his own ship and of 
my actions. But he was not. There is not an 
unwashed, garlicky, bediamonded Spanish spy in 
Cuba who has not more authority on board the 
Olivette than her American captain and his subser- 
vient crew. 

Only a year ago half of this country was clamor- 

The Right of Search 129 

ing for a war with the greatest power it could have 
selected for that purpose. Yet Great Britain 
would have been the first to protect her citi- 
zens and their property and their self-respect if 
they had been abused as the self-respect and prop- 
erty and freedom of Americans have been abused 
by this fourth-rate power, and are being abused 

Before I went to Cuba I was as much opposed to 
our interfering there as any other person equally 
ignorant concerning the situation could be, but 
since I have seen for myself I feel ashamed that we 
should have stood so long idle. We have been too 
considerate, too fearful that as a younger nation, we 
should appear to disregard the laws laid down by 
older nations. We have tolerated what no Euro- 
pean power would have tolerated; we have been 
patient with men who have put back the hand of 
time for centuries, who lie to our representatives 
daily, who butcher innocent people, who gamble 
with the lives of their own soldiers in order to gain 
a few more stars and an extra stripe, who send 
American property to the air in flames and murder 
American prisoners. 

The British lately sent an expedition of eight 
hundred men to the west coast of Africa to punish 
a savage king who butchers people because it does 

130 Cuba in War Time 

not rain. Why should we tolerate Spanish savages 
merely because they call themselves "the most 
Catholic," but who in reality are no better than 
this naked negro? What difference is there be- 
tween the King of Benin who crucifies a woman 
because he wants rain and General Weyler who 
outrages a woman for his own pleasure and throws 
her to his bodyguard of blacks, even if the woman 
has the misfortune to live after it and to still live 
in Sagua la Grande to-day? 

If the English were right and they were right 
in punishing the King of Benin for murdering his 
subjects to propitiate his idols, we are right to pun- 
ish these revivers of the Inquisition for starving 

women and children to propitiate an Austrian arch- 

It is difficult to know what the American people 
do want. They do not want peace, apparently, for 
their senators, some through an ignorant hatred of 
England and others through a personal dislike of 
the President, emasculated the arbitration treaty; 
and they do not want war, for, as some one has 
written, if we did not go to war with Spain when 
she murdered the crew of the Virginius, we never 

But if the executive and the legislators wish to 
assure themselves, like "Fighting Bob Acres," that 



4 ' 

t t 

S3 a 




The Right of Search 133 

they have some right on their side, they need not 
turn back to the Virginius incident. There are 
reasons enough to-day to justify their action, if it is 
to be their intellects and not their feelings that must 
move them to act. American property has been 
destroyed by Spanish troops to the amount of many 
millions, and no answer made to demands of the 
State Department for an explanation. American 
citizens have been imprisoned and shot some 
without a trial, some in front of their own domi- 
ciles, and American vessels are turned over to the 
uses of the Spanish secret police. These would 
seem to be sufficient reasons for interfering. 

But why should we not go a step farther and a 
step higher, and interfere in the name of human- 
ity? Not because we are Americans, but because we 
are human beings, and because, within eighty miles 
of our coast, Spanish officials are killing men and 
women as wantonly as though they were field 
mice, not in battle, but in cold blood cutting them 
down in the open roads, at the wells to which they 
have gone for water, or on their farms, where they 
have stolen away to dig up a few potatoes, hav- 
ing first run the gauntlets of the forts and risked 
their lives to obtain them. 

This is not an imaginary state of affairs, nor are 
these supposititious cases. I am writing only of the 

1 34 Cuba in War Time 

things I have heard from eye witnesses and of some 
of the things that I have seen. 

President Cleveland declared in his message to 
Congress: "When the inability of Spain to deal 
successfully with the insurgents has become mani- 
fest, and it is demonstrated that her sovereignty is 
extinct in Cuba for all purposes of its rightful exis- 
tence, and when a hopeless struggle for its re-estab- 
lishment has degenerated into a strife which is 
nothing more than the useless sacrifice of human 
life and the utter destruction of the very subject- 
matter of the conflict, a situation will be presented 
in which our obligations to the sovereignty of 
Spain will be superseded by higher obligations, 
which we can hardly hesitate to recognize and dis- 

These conditions are now manifest. A hopeless 
struggle for sovereignty has degenerated into a 
strife which means not the useless, but the wanton 
sacrifice of human life, and the utter destruction of 
the subject-matter of the conflict. 

What further manifestations are needed? Is it that 
the American people doubt the sources from which 
their information conies? They are the consuls 
all over the island of Cuba. For what voice cry- 
ing in the wilderness are they still waiting? What 
will convince them that the time has come? 

The Right of Search 135 

If the United States is to interfere in this mat- 
ter she should do so at once, but she should only 
do so after she has informed herself thoroughly 
concerning it. She should not act on the reports 
of the hotel piazza, correspondents, but send men 
to Cuba on whose judgment and common sense she 
can rely. General Fitzhugh Lee is one of these 
men, and there is no better informed American on 
Cuban matters than he, nor one who sees more 
clearly the course which our government should 
pursue. Through the consuls all over the island, 
he is in touch with every part of it, and in daily 
touch ; but incidents which are frightfully true there 
seem exaggerated and overdrawn when a typewrit- 
ten description of them reaches the calm corridors 
of the State Department. 

More men like Lee should go to Cuba to inform 
themselves, not men who will stop in Havana and 
pick up the gossip of the Hotel Ingleterra, but who 
will go out into the cities and sugar plantations and 
talk to the consuls and merchants and planters, 
both Spanish and American; who can see for them- 
selves the houses burning and the smoke arising 
from every point of the landscape ; who can see the 
bodies of "pacificos" brought into the cities, and 
who can sit on a porch of an American planter's 
house and hear him tell in a whisper how his sugar 

136 Cuba in War Time 

cane was set on fire by the same Spanish soldiers 
who surround the house, and who are supposed to 
guard his property, but who, in reality, are there 
to keep a watch on him. 

He should hear little children, born of American 
parents, come into the consulate and ask for a piece 
of bread. He should see the children and the 
women herded in the towns or walking the streets 
in long processions, with the Mayor at their head, 
begging his fellow Spaniards to give them food, the 
children covered with the red blotches of small-pox 
and the women gaunt with yellow fever. He 
should see hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth 
of machinery standing idle, covered with rust and 
dirt, or lying twisted and broken under fallen walls. 
He will learn that while one hundred and fifty-six 
vessels came into the port of Matanzas in 1894, 
only eighty-eight came in 1895, and that but six- 
teen touched there in 1896, and that while the 
export of sugar from that port to the United 
States in 1894 amounted to eleven millions of dol- 
lars, in 1895 it sank to eight millions of dollars, and 
in 1896 it did not reach one million. I copied these 
figures one morning from the consular books, and 
that loss of ten millions of dollars in two years in 
one little port is but a sample of the facts that show 
what chaos this war is working. 

Spanish Cavalryman on a Texas Broncho 


The Right of Search 139 

In three weeks any member of the Senate or of 
Congress who wishes to inform himself on this 
reign of terror in Cuba can travel from one end of 
this island to the other and return competent to 
speak with absolute authority. No man, no mat- 
ter what his prejudices may be, can make this jour- 
ney and not go home convinced that it is his duty 
to try to stop this cruel waste of life and this wan- 
ton destruction of a beautiful country. 

A reign of terror sounds hysterical, but it is an 
exact and truthful descriptive phrase of the condi- 
tion in Cuba. Insurgents and Spaniards alike are lay- 
ing waste the land, and neither side shows any sign 
of giving up the struggle. But while the men are 
in the field fighting after their fashion, for the inde- 
pendence of the island, the old men and the infirm 
and the women and children, who cannot help the 
cause or themselves, and who are destitute and 
starving and dying, have their eyes turned toward 
the great republic that lies only eighty miles away, 
and they are holding out their hands and asking 
"How long, O, Lord, how long?" 

Or if the members of the Senate and of Congress 
can not visit Cuba, why will they not listen to those 
who have been there? Of three men who traveled 
over the island, seeking the facts concerning it, two 
correspondents and an interpreter, two of the three 

140 Cuba in War Time 

were for a time in Spanish hospitals, covered with 
small-pox. Of the three, although we were to- 
gether until they were taken ill, I was the only one 
who escaped contagion. 

If these other men should die, they die because 
they tried to find out the truth. Is it likely, hav- 
ing risked such a price for it that they would lie 
about what they have seen? 

They could have invented stories of famine and 
disease in Havana. They need not have looked for 
the facts where they were to be found, in the sea- 
ports and villages and fever camps. Why not lis- 
ten to these men or to Stephen Bonsai, of the New 
York Herald, in whom the late President showed 
his confidence by appointing him to two diplomatic 

Why not listen to C. E. Akers, of the London 
Times, and Harper's Weekly, who has held two 
commissions from the Queen? Why disregard a 
dozen other correspondents who are seeking the 
truth, and who urge in every letter which they 
write that their country should stop this destruc- 
tion of a beautiful land and this butchery of harm- 
less non-combatants? 

The matter lies at the door of Congress. Each 
day's delay means the death of hundreds of 
people, every hour sees fresh blood spilled, and 





The Right of Search 143 

more houses and more acres of crops sinking into 
ashes. A month's delay means the loss to this 
world of thousands of lives, the unchecked growth 
of terrible diseases, and the spreading devastation 
of a great plague. 

It would be an insult to urge political reasons, or 
the sure approval of the American people which 
the act of interference would bring, or any other 
unworthy motive. No European power dare inter- 
fere, and it lies with the United States and with her 
people to give the signal. If it is given now it 
will save thousands of innocent lives ; if it is delayed 
just that many people will perish.